This introductory chapter discusses British counterinsurgency theory and counterinsurgency in general. The legacy of the British armed forces with counterinsurgency has been forgotten since the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan broke out. In these instances, serious difficulties owing to confusion regarding the mission's purpose, a flawed intelligence picture, deficiencies in troop levels, as well as various operational and tactical mistakes troubled the well-founded military strategies of the British armed forces. The study aims to decipher what accounted for this operational frustration. It asks questions about the validity of historical British counterinsurgency principles at the time and what measures they used to address the problem. It also looks at the implications of the operational frustration on Britain's role in international peace and security. The chapter then frames the entire study within these aspects, namely, the definition and use of counterinsurgency, as well as the roles of learning, adaptation, and political will.
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